Denver Nuggets Vs. Philadelphia 76ers: Predictions, Starting Lineups (1/16/24)

On Tuesday (1/16/24), the Philadelphia 76ers host the Denver Nuggets in a fascinating cross-conference matchup. In this article, find the latest betting odds for the game and a full matchup preview. In addition, find our prediction and best bet for the Nuggets vs. 76ers game which is the Nuggets +4.5.

Denver Nuggets Vs. Philadelphia 76ers Prediction

The gamesmanship between the Nuggets and 76ers is uncommon for two teams that play in different conferences. While Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid won the MVP award last season, Denver’s Nikola Jokic had the last laugh, winning the NBA Championship and Finals MVP. The debate of who’s better between these two centers took a back seat once Jokic climbed the mountaintop, but Embiid is hungry to level the score.

Embiid hasn’t played in Denver since 2019, and there’s certainly a narrative that he has ducked the Nuggets in the past. However, Embiid returned from a three-game absence due to a knee injury on Monday and registered 41 points and 10 rebounds in a 9-point home win over the Rockets. Despite this game coming on the second night of a back-to-back, Embiid is poised to play against the Nuggets here.

Denver, meanwhile, has its entire starting lineup on the injury report at the time of writing. The spread for this game ballooned from an opening line of 76ers -1 once the injury report was announced on Monday afternoon, but I’m not buying it. I’ll break down the injuries in detail below, but I have a hunch that the Nuggets are trolling with their injury report due to the optics of Embiid dodging this matchup in the past.

Assuming the Nuggets’ starters are good to go on Tuesday, I’m buying Denver to keep this game close and perhaps win outright. The 76ers currently sit third in the East with a 25-13 record, and they’ve gone a stellar 15-6 at home. However, they’ve played the fourth-easiest schedule in the NBA per Dunks & Threes, and this game represents a significant measuring stick opportunity against the defending champions.

The 76ers have been excellent on defense this season, ranking third in defensive rating, but the absence of guard De’Anthony Melton is significant. Philadelphia’s four best lineups by defensive rating come with Melton on the floor this season, and his absence hurts their ability to guard Jamal Murray’s lethal off-the-dribble ability.

Ultimately, I’m happy to take the points with Denver on what appears to be an inflated line due to injury uncertainty. Risk management is key in the NBA, and as I’m writing this, I don’t have official confirmation on the injury statuses of Denver’s players. If everyone is available for this game, I’d be comfortable taking the Nuggets down to +2.5.

Denver Nuggets Vs. Philadelphia 76ers Prediction: Nuggets +4.5

Best NBA Betting Promo Codes

Denver Nuggets Vs. Philadelphia 76ers Best Odds

The odds for this game opened with the 76ers as 1-point home favorites, but the line quickly steamed up due to the injury uncertainty with the Nuggets. The current over/under for this game sits at 227 points after opening as high as 229.5. The odds tile above will show the latest betting odds for this game and which sportsbooks are offering the best numbers.

Denver Nuggets Starting Lineup

PG: Jamal Murray
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
SF: Michael Porter Jr.
PF: Aaron Gordon
C: Nikola Jokic

Philadelphia 76ers Starting Lineup

PG: Tyrese Maxey
SG: Kelly Oubre Jr.
SF: Tobias Harris
PF: Nicolas Batum
C: Joel Embiid

Denver Nuggets Vs. Philadelphia 76ers Injuries

The Nuggets listed their entire starting five on the injury report for this game, which is in my eyes a clear troll job pointedly directed at Joel Embiid. Of course, the statuses of those players are very much worth monitoring leading up to tipoff, but I anticipate the Nuggets being healthy for this primetime game. Meanwhile, the 76ers are currently without guard De’Anthony Melton and forward Robert Covington, two key pieces of their defensive rotation.

Denver Nuggets Vs. Philadelphia 76ers Key Matchups

Find what matchups will decide Nuggets vs. 76ers.

76ers’ Half Court Offense Vs. Nuggets’ Half Court Defense

One area where I believe the Nuggets have the upper hand is in the half court. Without James Harden running point, the 76ers have jumped from 27th in pace to 12th this season. They rank 3rd in ShotQuality points per possession in transition. However, Denver averages the fifth-fewest turnovers per game and allows the third-lowest transition points per possession.

The Nuggets will force the Sixers to work more often in the half court in this game. While Joel Embiid draws double teams and extra attention from Denver’s forwards, Tyrese Maxey has to be a big factor in shot creation. He’s averaging a career high 26.1 points and 6.6 assists per game and is the clear favorite to win the NBA’s Most Improved Player award this season.

Embiid’s improved passing could also become a significant factor in this game. He’s averaging a career high 6.0 assists per game as first year head coach Nick Nurse has helped him unlock more of a playmaking threat. The Nuggets are elite in defending the catch and shoot three, though, ranking first in points per possession allowed on that shot type per ShotQuality.

Ultimately, I see Denver’s ability to limit the 76ers’ efficiency in half court sets as a significant factor in them covering on the road. I have the Nuggets limiting the 76ers’ transition scoring and forcing them to work in the half court where they’re less efficient as a key factor in my Nuggets vs. 76ers prediction.

I've been a huge sports fan for as long as I can remember and I've always loved writing. In 2020, I joined the Lineups team, and I've been producing written and video content on football and basketball ever since. In May 2021, I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in sport management. My goal is to tell enthralling stories and provide meaningful insight on the sports I write about while helping you cash some bets along the way.

Hot NBA Stories